Power of attorney

It can be reassuring to know help is at hand if you need someone to make financial decisions on your behalf when you no longer can.

What’s a power of attorney?

It’s a legal document which allows someone you trust – an ‘attorney’ – to make decisions for you – the ‘donor’ – or on your behalf. This can last for any length of time, before or during a period of vulnerability.

Your attorney can be a friend, family member or solicitor, but they must be over the age of 18 (or 16 in Scotland) and not bankrupt. You can have more than one attorney taking care of different things, but you’ll need to decide if they should make decisions together or separately.

Your attorney can help with your:

  • Health and care
  • Property and finances (like your pension)

Why is a power of attorney important?   

Even if you are married, in a civil partnership or have a long-term partner, they cannot manage things like your pension, bank account or health without this legal document. This includes accessing your pension pot.

In some cases, you or your chosen attorney may be told it’s too late to make a power of attorney if you can no longer make your own choices. Instead, your attorney would need to become a ‘deputy’. It’s worth noting this can cost more and take longer to complete than a power of attorney.

Read more about becoming a deputy on the government’s website.

If you’d like someone else to have access to details about your pension pot, but not have the option to access your savings – you can complete a ‘letter of authority’. This document will only last while you can still make your own decisions.

Visit our knowledge base for more information: Can details of my pension pot be disclosed to a third party (IFA, spouse etc)?

Are you a power of attorney?

If you’re an attorney for a member of The People’s Pension and are looking to access their pension savings or find out more information, on their behalf, please contact us.

We’ll need you to confirm some of the member’s details before we can give any information. If we don’t have your power of attorney document, you may also need to send this to us for our records as proof you’re their attorney.

Types of attorneys in the UK

Ordinary power of attorney

  • Your attorney can only make decisions about your property and finances.
  • This legal document only lasts while you can still make your own decisions.
  • You don’t need to register with any authorities. But you could contact Citizens Advice or a solicitor to make sure you complete the right forms.

Lasting power of attorney

  • Your attorney can make decisions about your property, finances, health and care.
  • This legal document can begin while you can make your own decisions and continue when you can’t.
  • You’ll need to register with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Visit the government’s website to find out more about a lasting power of attorney and how to apply.

If you have any questions, call the Office of the Public Guardian on 0300 4560 300.

Enduring power of attorney

  • Your attorney can only make decisions about your property and finances.
  • An enduring power of attorney was replaced by a lasting power of attorney.
  • You can still use an enduring power of attorney if you made one before 1 October 2007.

For more information about power of attorneys in general, please visit the Citizens Advice’s webpage about managing affairs for someone else.

Looking for extra support?

Are you, or someone you know, going through a period of vulnerability or simply need communications from us in a different format? Visit our supporting everyone equally webpage to find out more.